Dancing in the New Year

I have this belief that how I spend New Year’s Eve will set the tone for the whole rest of the year. I’m not sure where that belief came from and I know that it isn’t true. Yet, I choose to believe it.

How did I want this next year to be?

I decided I wanted to do something different than years past. I had no idea what that was but felt confident it would find me. I was clear in my intention for what I wanted and didn’t want out of the night.

A few days before I had a dear friend come to mind and something in me knew that reaching out to her would be exactly what I needed. So I did. I asked what she was doing for New Year’s and she responded immediately, inviting me along with her friends for the night and mentioned going to a park to celebrate.

I spend New Year’s in Canada each year and being outside feels like a very cold thought. The notion has never appealed to me. In the past I would rather stay home by myself than be crazy enough to stand outside for hours. Except this year it felt like the exact right thing.

And so I set off to meet my friend, and a bunch of people I had never met. No one answered the door so I walked in to a stranger’s house, hoping it was the right one. And was welcomed immediately with warmth.

My friend introduced me to everyone by saying “this is Heather, I love her”. What a lovely way to be greeted. I couldn’t help smiling each time.

Just before I left my house I had a note from my friend that we weren’t going to the park any more due to the cold. But, shortly after I arrived talk of going to the park came up. I felt myself grow hesitant and subtle blocks came up in my body starting to close me off.

Since I had thought we weren’t going to the park any more I had chosen to wear a blue wool dress with a silver belt, blue tights, burgundy and orange striped knee-high socks, and a burgundy cape-like cardigan. I looked like a woolen superhero but knew my powers would not be of emanating warmth in the minus twenty-plus degree weather (Celsius!) outside.

In the past I wouldn’t have said anything. I would have either stayed behind and missed out, miserable and dwelling in disappointment, or I would have gone in what I was wearing, frozen and let myself be incredibly uncomfortable. Either way, I would have chosen to suffer. I would have chosen to suffer instead of ask others for what I needed. And those were my first thoughts when the situation came up. I immediately assumed I couldn’t go or would freeze to death and was weighing out which one I wanted more.

But something was different. I didn’t want either of those options. I looked down at my attire and pointed out to my friend that I didn’t think we were going outside so I hadn’t dressed appropriately. She immediately offered me her near-floor length parka so that it would cover all of me. I resisted a few times and then once I knew she had another coat, accepted.

Still not convinced I would be warm enough I mentioned my dilemma to one of the men there who was putting on his boots, getting ready to go outside. He immediately asked if I wanted his long johns. I’m not really in the habit of taking people’s undergarments for warmth and his offer surprised me. He insisted he would be warm enough. I refused a couple of times before saying, “well, actually I kinda would like them”. And he went to strip them off and hand them over. There, another layer under the warm coat.

And so our bundled-up group set off into the night toward the downtown core.

We arrived and I mentioned my hands were cold, despite my mittens. Yet another person had a pair of gloves he wasn’t using and gave them to me. This time I only resisted once before accepting.

Surprised each time at the generosity of strangers. Surprised each time that I was actually asking for what I needed. And even more surprised that I allowed the help. Accepted it through minimal resistance.

The countdown kicked off in the square, we all shouted along, and then the New Year was upon us.

Within the first few seconds, the man who had given me his long johns gave me a New Year’s kiss, each person who I had only met a couple of hours before gave me a big hug and New Year greetings as though I had always been part of their community. And as the band played, I danced.

I danced in the New Year outside on a crisp winter’s night feeling fully supported, loved, warm and a part of all that is. Bright, beaming energy was emanating out of every cell and I felt full.

I don’t know if that belief I have about New Year’s is true but it certainly was a perfect way to ring in the New Year and I’d like to believe it will set the tone for all that is yet to come.